Day 59: July 24

Today I left Milan, going home to DC to edit, flow, and hang. I had the best time in Europe and wouldn't trade my time there for the world!

 

I am so excited to share all the photos with you all. I learned so much during this internship. I not only learned a lot about myself and my photography/videography style, but also about the fashion photography/production world overall.

 

I made so many meaningful connections in the entertainment, publication, fashion, and music industries, and just with great people in general, over in Europe, and I know that I will continue to interact and keep in touch with these wonderful people for years to come.

 

Coming back to America is bittersweet, as I am looking forward to seeing my family, friends, and dogs, but will miss Europe- especially Milan- a ton. Living here for two months has been surreal and nothing short of outstanding, and I can't wait for my next adventures.

 

Follow my Instagrams, @amandaromewest and @westxphoto, for more content and great pics. So incredibly grateful for this experience I had. 

Day 58: July 23

Can't believe it's my last day living in Europe! Crazy. Time flies and I've honestly had the best time of my entire life. The weekend in Milan is interesting because there are lots of places that the Internet SAYS are open on sat/sun, but then they aren't! Frustrating, but definitely makes me more appreciative for how everything is open at much more accommodating hours in America. Like, even restaurants I wanted to try are closed today, when they said they were open. However, many places also state that they are closed on weekends because that's ((unfortunately)) just how Italy is.

 

First, I got a brioche tradizionale con crema e caffè con panna at Il Fornaio, a famous local bakery just down the street from me. If Europe's good at anything, it's pastries!!!

 

I went all the way over to East Market in hopes of finding some dope vintage pieces, but it was closed, as many things are in Milan in July/August because that's when the Italians go on vacation away from the Milan area. I then went all the way over to the San Donato Mercato, which is pretty far outside of Milan. It was not as good as the other markets yesterday were, but I took what I could get, as it is a Sunday. I got a cool "Milano" embroidered shirt for my appliqué work that I do on unique jean jackets/apparel in the US, so that worked out! I've gotten really good at bargaining by doing it a lot lol.

 

I took the metro across town to Palazzo Lombardia, which is this amazingly tall, modern tower that is probably the tallest building in Milan, that has free entry to the very top! The views were incredible- can't believe how gorgeous all of Milano is from above, as it does not immediately strike you as the most beautiful city compared to other European places like Barcelona, Paris, London, etc. But from above it is! The entryway to the building complex is super cool, it has all of these modern architectural elements when you look up, and there are a ton of artistic pillars to admire.

 

I was also going to go up into Pirelli Tower... But, again, even when the Internet says things will be open Sunday, they aren't! 😩 It was really interesting on the outside though- but it is strange, it is only open on Sundays apparently but then it is closed on Sundays 😐 Odd.... LOL. It's okay, seeing the epic 360° aerial views from Palazzo Lombardia was enough for me! Gorgeous!

 

I went to one last lunch at my favorite eatery, La Proscuitteria in Navigli. Always reliable and delicious! It's seriously hard to find places that are open in Milan on the weekends, so this one rocks! It has delicious prosciutto, cheese, salads, jams, and WINE! Wonderful antique decor, and there are even salami and other meats hanging from the ceiling. They bring out these huge, photogenic boards of charcuterie and veggies- YUM! I also got a pistachio/nocciola gelato frappè- who knew that frappès could be so Italian? 😍

 

I then went to a Hillsong aperitivo that an Italian music industry/business coach friend of mine invited me to at the prestigious Sheraton Diana Majestic hotel. I was just excited to go and take part in his culture, but little did I know that something MUCH more exciting would happen: I met famous Italian football players, the head of Kiton retail, lots of awesome fashion, music, and entertainment industry people, and, last but not least, one of my favorite artists' pastor. That's right, this evening I met one of Justin Bieber's international pastors. HOLLA. Gorgeous garden & lounge area at this boutique hotel- again, I cannot reiterate how modern and progressive Milan is.

 

It was my last night in Italy (and in Milan), so I HAD TO see the sunset in front of the Duomo. I mean, it IS iconic after all. I just took a quick little metro from the party to the Duomo! I went to another aperitivo at the extremely overpriced (lol €15 small mojitos anyone?& 🙂) Martini Bar looking out onto the Duomo. Rooftop bar! I loved watching the sky go from bright yellows & pinks into the deep blue hue of nightfall. Absolutely stunning.

 

I then went to Just Cavalli Club in Parco Sempione. It was so gorgeous. There were rainbow lights in the trees, a huge tower at the top of which you could see all of Milan, a great nightlife scene, and funky animal prints/neon lights on everything. Feels like you are in a party in the jungle. I had a great piña colada!

 

I then went back to my apartment and went to sleep. I have to be up at five in the morning tomorrow for my flight back to the United States. This eurotrip has been beyond fun, wild, surprising, and, most importantly, memorable. I had the best time and I am so happy that I could live it up in Europe for two whole months, fashion weeks, parties, vacations, studio gigs, amazing food, lovely people, and ALL! Peace!

Day 57: July 22

This weekend I am exploring the markets, restaurants, clubs, and night scenes of Milano! I first made breakfast and went to my final Italian workout class- total body workout- hard as always! I then got ready for the day and headed off to visit some of the most famous Milanese markets. I've noticed that the markets are usually on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday- don't ask why about Tuesday, I honestly have no clue! I've found that the metro in Milan seems complex, but, really, is the easiest transportation system out of all of the European cities to which I've traveled.

 

Now, having walked the streets and gone on the metro every day in every European I visited for 2 months, I can say with firm belief that Europe needs a large feminism campaign overall. Everywhere I go, other women and I are constantly catcalled, made to feel uncomfortable, and even (not in my case) groped and no one does anything about it. I think this is disgusting and inappropriate, and, as a well-educated young woman, feel I'd be amiss not addressing this issue. Thankfully, in the US, I feel like there has been an increased number of pro-female rights campaigns and more awareness about not treating women as objects, or even simply as lesser than men.

 

I'd really like to see some more sex equality, and even just plain respect, in Europe, Italy especially. Having travelled to Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, London, and then rather extensively throughout Italy (Rome, Florence, Milan, Verona, Como, Bergamo, and Venice), I can conclude that sexism and the mistreatment of women is the worst in Italy. Maybe the government should instate a sex equality program in schools or something, or at least have laws against the continued mistreatment of females everywhere. Not to get super dark, but... Had to portray what's going on, because, no matter how messed up something is, we have to acknowledge and come up with solutions to the problem at hand.

 

I first went all the way across Milan to try the famous (or infamous?!) risotto alla Milanese at Ratanà, but, as I have found it sadly often common here, the restaurant was closed for lunch without notice – they just had a random paper sign taped to the door that said "we are closed today for lunch sorry" in Italian. Ridiculous because I literally went all the way across town for this! I looked up another place to go to near me that had risotto, but it was closed too! Hate this about Italy- things will randomly be closed and shuttered!

 

I went to Via Valvassori Peronimarket, which is widely considered one of the best outdoor food/clothing/antique markets in Italy, and wandered around. Even ate some authentic meats & cheeses at a formaggi e salumeri stand! Literally ate a meat and cheese board as I walked around 😃 I now speak and understand Italian so I was able to ask for specific meats and cheeses- my favorite ones were the spicy salami and goat cheese! Was super awesome. I went to this market without any cash because I spent it all so that I don't have any more euros when I go home, but this was inconvenient at the markets... Note to self- make sure to save cash for markets, even if I'm leaving in less than 2 days 😂 The market was so cute, had tons of fresh produce and meats, hand-woven clothes, and very Italian people 😍 I got a real Gucci bag on serious discount, proud of my bargaining skills! Only took an hour arguing with a very scary Italian guy 🙌🏽

 

I then went to Mercato Rionale Fauché, which is known for having great designer stuff at low prices. These markets are all on opposite sides of town, so it takes a lot of effort to get to each one, but it's definitely worth it! It had all of the produce, clothing, novelty items, vintage pieces, and more, just like all the other markets do, but this one's speciality is jewelry. I got a nice pair of earrings and bracelet. It's always funny to see all the stands peddling very obviously fake designer bags, because you think to yourself, "who would buy that?," but then you see clueless tourists shelling out their funds 🤣😫.

 

Finally, I then explored a the Fiera Di Senigaglia Mercato, which is a market consisting of lots and lots of tents of rasta life/reggae vibe, record, and accessory vendors. I got some dope yogi headbands and Buddhist-inspired rings depicting snakes and the Buddha for a great deal! It's set up along the hipster Navigli Grande canals, and is honestly one of the most gorgeous outdoor markets I've seen in my entire life!

 

As it is my last weekend in Milan, I clearly HAD TO go to my favorite gelateria, LatteNeve, to get my favorites in a waffle cone: nocciola al piemonte, pistacchio puro, e arachidi salata con sesamo nero (which there are just no words to describe that's how good it is!). And it's all vegan, too (I used to be vegan for a few years lol throwback). Thank god the portions  in Italy are generally small, because, otherwise, Houston we'd have a problem 😅

 

I chilled in my apartment and then walked a bit to FINALLY try my risotto alla milanese at the internationally-recognized and quite traditional Osteria del Binari. The restaurant was nothing bu fabulous! They brought out complementary cava, and then pheasant patè. Delightful! Then came the risotto alla milanese at osteria del binari- I am now STUFFED. They even had this little tool with which I dug the marrow out. For dessert? Tortino caldo al cioccolato con salsa al pistacchio. Duh. The awesomest restaurant EVER! Very green, secluded private terrace covered in vines with grapes- wonderful! Quite a romantic, Italian vibe.

 

I then watched the sky at one of its most underrated and magnificent times- the time after sunset but before dark- in front of the Duomo. It's crazy that I have never seen the Duomo at this time before, but it's honestly because I'm always so busy I never have really had time to stop and just SEE it! Tomorrow I want to make sure that I get really good sunset and nighttime pics of it. So majestic! 😍

 

I had to go back to my apartment in Navigli because my landlord wanted to meet up to give me my deposit back (can't complain about "free money!" 😃), and then I went to take some night pics of Castello Sforzesco and it's gorgeous fountain. I then hung out at DSQUARED2's fabulous bar/pool, Ceresio 7. It is the best rooftop hang out in the entire world! Panoramic views of Milan, great drinks/food, and awesome pools. #goals! Stayed out there with friends until almost sunrise #oops lol. You'll never remember the nights you got a lot of sleep, as the saying goes!

 

I have a having the absolute BEST time in Milan but I am excited to see my friends in DC/NY/LA. I think every trip has its time, and that is over after this weekend. I had an extraordinary venture, thank you everyone so much for following! I cannot wait to share all of the content that I have created during this epic journey with you.

Day 56: July 21

I think I can honestly say that I have seen everything there is to see in Milan. Not because I have no desire to ever come back here in the future, but I definitely saw everything interesting... I am finding myself running out of things to do/say because really I feel like I have seen it all!

 

I chilled in my apartment this morning, made myself breakfast, and took care of a few things regarding my moving into the USC Village in a few short weeks (yay!) on the computer, and then I headed out to explore for the day. Today is a very exciting day because my friend who works at VIACOM/MTV Italia invited me to a huge Comedy Central shoot this afternoon/evening.

 

I'm pretty disappointed because I took the metro all the way across the city to go see the Santa Maria Della Fontana church, but apparently, according to the gardener, the people who work there close it daily from 12-3 to go to lunch! Some type of long lunch!!! I wish I could've stuck around to see it, but I've seen so many churches here that there is really no point in seeing one more 😂 Probably have visited over 15 churches on this Europe trip, and I don't think not seeing one will change my life or anything! The outside was really gorgeous, though, with beautiful stained glass windows and brick exterior. Would've loved to see the inside but I have other things to do, as always!

 

I went all the way back over to the other side of Milan to visit the Crazy Cat Cafè, a coffee shop where you can browse the Internet, have your cup of coffee, and, you know, hang out with cats. Totally normal right?! Not normal- but super cute! The cats were adorable. There were 9 of them and they were all named after rockstars, like Elton John or David Bowie. Hilarious! I had a nocciola CATpucino (ha ha!) and enjoyed the company of the cute, cuddly cats. They even had an original Apple Macintosh and a vintage record player that worked! I had a mozzarella with prosciutto, too. Gotta eat that Italian food while it lasts! Lol. I think this idea of taking stray cats, grooming/training them, and having them be therapeutic for guests is so smart- gives the cats and people purpose!

 

Next, I went to the Italian Viacom office to meet up with my MTV Italia friend's colleague and go to a Comedy Central shoot in Milano. The colleague only spoke Italian and Spanish, so it is lucky that I'm fluent in Spanish, because we really communicated well. I love Spanish and am grateful to have learned some Italian during the internships I did, but I wish I did speak more Italian. Maybe I can keep working on it, but I am always so busy. The Viacom office was so dope, it was on the top floor of a high rise looking right out onto the Duomo and all of Milan's rooftops, and had lots of rainbow colors and cool decorations. Similar to its office in LA! Would love to work at Viacom LA one day, as I have a close friend who always raves about how much she learned working there. hopefully that pans out!

 

I got to talk to the colleague all about her career leading up to being a senior producer on Comedy Central. Most recently, she's working at the Italian version of Impractical Jokers, a show where I will be working on site in the street today. Her main tip was to make sure that I work at as many different jobs and companies as I can in order to gain a lot of experience and insight! She works on a lot of shows that are spin-offs of American Comedy Central ones, like Super Shore, which is the European version of Jersey Shore,  and Impractical Jokers, which is the Italian version of the American one.

 

The Comedy Central production of Impractical Jokers was actually shot right in Navigli, the area where I live! So cool. I got to help the producers and production team, and even be part of some of the jokes! It's interesting, in America, a lot of people want to be on the show, but here, apparently, not too many people want to be live participants in the show. Huh. I suppose that Italian people are sometimes more private and less energetic about being a part of shows. I worked with two big Italian radio DJs/hosts of Lo Zoo di 105, Marco Mazzoli and Paolo Noise, who star in each episode of the show.

 

The premise of Italian Impractical Jokers is that this whole squad from Radio 105 is playing a joke on random people who walk by, and everyone besides one of the members of the radio team has to voice over into the one person who is "on the spot"'s ear, telling him what to say to the random people. Today's plan was for each of the guys to take turns pretending to be a dream interpreter who interprets random passerby's dreams- through saying whatever it is the other 3 guys tell him to say, no matter how ridiculous it is! The challenge is for the guy pretending to be the interpreter to not laugh at all the crazy things he's told to say. I got to "star" on the show as a random person telling Noise about my dreams. It was super entertaining and fun! They had a hidden camera and I suppose they cut the footage to make it funnier. Noise did a pretty good job not laughing when he said crazy things about what my dreams meant to me- but some of the other guys cracked!

 

Appearing and working on this show was really cool for me, as it is super popular on Comedy Central in America, and it excites me that they're starting it in italy. You sadly apparently will not be able to see my "five seconds or fame" on American TV, as it is only available on Comedy Central in Italy. Wahhhhh! 😫 I also got to spend a lot of time on the other side of the production. I worked on production and talked extensively with the head of comedy, producers, directors, and cinematographers from Comedy Central- was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Basically, they told me that I'm totally on the right track  by interning abroad and working at tons of different production/media companies, and the fact that I'm only 19 was evidently impressive to them, because they thought I was 27 or something- they said I'm way ahead of the curve- good!

 

My Viacom/MTV friend who has worked in Milan for 20 years recommended I go to Mieru Mieru- or, in translation, "wine wine"- for dinner. It was the cutest hip place in Navigli, a family restaurant dedicated to Puglian cuisine (Puglia is in the south of Italy!). Their specialties were white wines (which I had a glass of- amazing!) and mussels- I started with mussels gratiné  and then had spaghetti alla tarantina, which is pasta with special home-grown tomatoes and fresh mussels. Really hip decor- Vogue and Madonna books, record player (again, lol), lots of wine (duh- it's in the name!), and jazz playing in the background. Perfect.

 

The family who operates the restaurant started talking to us about their business: this super trendy restaurant is ran by the son, owned by the father, and its food is cooked by the mother. A truly trendy family business! 

 

I enjoyed walking along the Naviglio Grande and taking in all the sights of the beautiful area in which I live. So lucky to live near a gorgeous canal nightlife type scene! Even though I wasn't technically living in Milan all summer (I shot fashion weeks and went on trips all over Europe lol), I really feel appreciative for the adventures and fun I had in the time I did have here. I only have this weekend left, and I am going to make sure to enjoy every minute of it!

Day 55: July 20

Today I was lucky enough to spend the whole day in Venice! I got up super early, took the metro to the train to San Lucia Station, and was on my way! I loved watching all of the gorgeous Italian forests, lakes, vineyards, and everything else out of the window for 2.5 hours. Honestly, in Italy, every single thing you see is just prettier and prettier than the next, and you can't even believe it! Everywhere you look, you're saying to yourself "I wouldn't mind seeing this view every day of my life," and then you see something else, just as, if not more, pretty, and you find yourself thinking, "Wait, no, this view, too!" And eventually it gets to just be too much and you're in a complete and utter sea of gorgeousness! 😍

 

I'm so happy that I spent all the time to plan this trip out so carefully, because it absolutely ROCKED! Right when I got to Venice, I enjoyed the sights- immediately when I stepped off the train, I saw gorgeous gondolas, boats, and monuments. Wow! I got some awesome gelato (Reese's and Tiramisu! Gotta eat Italy while I'm still hereeeee), and wandered around the streets of Venice. I saw a lot of pretty bridges- there are lots of mini ones, and then there's the Rialto Bridge, the most popular one, which is always FILLED to the brim with people, so I made sure to see that, but also to see lesser-populated areas so that I could have more private views of the city and canal.

 

I adored strolling along the Grand Canal, and seeing the beautiful, sparkling river filled with gondolas, mercantile ships, and seagulls! I even took a gondola ride, and, surprisingly, it was only €2! It was so fun watching the men in striped shirts row us around... I used to row varsity crew, so it was really fun not being the one to row the boat 😍

 

I crossed the river to see this newly installed statue of hands coming up out of the water- a sort of symbol of the climate change and rising water levels in Venice. I really like how the artist is combining art and environmental awareness- lots of tourists take pictures of this work of art, so I'm sure that the message really gets spread! 

 

I meandered through an authentic Venetian Market, where I got bag of pasta shaped like penises for my friend, because it was just so HIM. I don't usually buy souvenirs for myself, my friends, or my family, but, honestly, this one was a must. Like, don't you ever walk by something and immediately think of your friend and just HAVE to get it?! I know I do! I loved seeing all the hanging garlic/pepperoncino, fresh fruit/vegetables, and still-alive seafood. Felt like old Venice. No tourists, just locals doing their daily shopping at the market. 🤗

 

My friend recommended that I go to lunch at Trattoria alla Madonna- it was simply LOVELY! I had a lot of fun walking around the restaurant seeing all of the freshly caught seafood on display- from squid to clams to lobster they had it all. Lots of cool old art and felt like I was back in 19th century Italy. I had the famous risotto ai frutta di mare, or, for my American readers, cheesy rice with seafood, fresh bread, and my first/ever cassata siciliana, a traditional fruit/chocolate dessert served in Venice.

 

This past week, I bought tickets for a 3-hour private tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, otherwise known as the "Golden Church" and the Doge's Palace. It. Was. Epic. So happy I signed up for this tour! We had headsets and everything, and the guide was an older Venetian woman who really seemed to know EVERYthing about Venice. I love history and Europe is the place to be for that! The tour was SO detailed- I could go on for hours and hours with cool facts and figures, but since most people have either been to Venice or heard about its attractions, I'll just tell you what I thought the most unique/interesting parts of each were. Again, this is my second time here, and last time I even got to see the Golden Pall, so I am really into Venice- be warned! 😍

 

My favorite parts of the tour of St. Mark's include the focus on the gorgeous golden-coated murano glas pictorial mosaics! The shadows, depths, and accuracy that the masters had in depicting people, animals, and scenery in general is startling. Wow. Lots of tiny little pieces of glass were coated in pure gold leafing and, over 700 years, the murals and decorations of this Mecca for all history and/or Jesus lovers was complete! It's crazy, the tiles sometimes fall off the wall daily, so you might just be walking through the church and see one on the ground- pick it up and return it to the museum, as they reconstruct extra murals in their gallery! I also loved the Loggia dei Cavalli Terrace where you can look out onto all of St. Mark's Square and enjoy views of the water, too!

 

For the Doges Palace, my favorite part was the Bridge of Sighs, the last place where prisoners would see the gorgeous views of Venice. It's this tiny little bridge with baby-sized holes in it so you can peep through at the breathtaking view of Venice! If I were a prisoner, I'd want to see this as my last view of the city, too! Another interesting part was the secret door in one of the medium-sized senate rooms- I thought it was so dope that a Doge or member of the council can just slip out and be like, "BYE!" I would do that when I felt like I needed some caffeine in my system during their what I'm sure were ridiculously long meetings. Lol. It is so crazy, a Doge has to be 75 to be elected- so old because in the old days, they only wanted a Doge for a couple months/years, and people living to 75 was like their living till 95 today, so they would make sure that the Doge was pretty old so that he would die and not get TOO much power! Additionally, the gorgeous painted ceilings that survived multiple fires really got my attention, with their guiding, bright colors, and fascinating subjects. As I said.... Could go on for hours (and I do!).

 

After the wonderful and detailed tour of these two highlights of Venice, I saw the Campanile- bell tower- in Piazza San Marco, which I am glad I got tickets to ahead of time, because it was a 2 hour-long line to go up, and I got to skip the entire line for the same price! Thinking ahead always pays off The elevator takes you all the way to the top, where the bells are, and then you get to see breathtaking panoramic views of Venice! I love how you see all the orange rooftops that contrast so well with the sea.

 

I collect glass animals, so of course I had to cop a few for my collection! Murano glass is the famous venetian glass, so I got a penguin, bee, dolphin, and gondola. It was a MUST! Last time I was in Venice I got a plague mask and a masquerade mask, so I had to do it this time! Even had a glassblower at my bat mitzvah that's how obsessed I am lol. So that made me quite happy!

 

My Italian friend insisted I go to Libreria dell'Acqua Alta- and I'm SO glad I did! It is this tiny little bookshop with a sign out front that says "coolest bookstore in the world"- most would doubt this statement upon seeing the tiny little storefront, but when you walk in past the wheelbarrows and boats filled with discounted books and pictures of saints, you walk into a whole other world. The entire store is stuffed to the brim with books, magazines, and more literature of every genre, language, and length. The owners have come up with creative ways to store the books, in gondolas, mazes, and even as a huge staircase built to walk onto a gorgeous view of all of Venice! Wow! As a bookworm, this is my PLACE! The cutest of all was a reading nook with a chair RIGHT next to the water- literally the back of the store bordered the canal, so they just left it open and you can sit there reading looking out onto the canal, so peacefully- they even had a sign that had an image of a man jumping out of the store saying "FIRE EXIT" - lol. There are also cats meandering throughout the store- so fun and inventive!

 

I went to a traditional Venetian restaurant for dinner, where I had these awesome fried things you dip in fondue and then a Calzone stuffed with sausage and mozzarella/ricotta. I even got to try Venice's famed pistachio cookies. Gonna miss the European food and people watching more than you'd know. Gotta live in the moment and ENJOY! Life is like a melting gelato, gotta savor it while it lasts! 😀

 

Today I found out CorePower Yoga (the yoga studio at which I teach in DC/MD) is opening up its first-ever USC studio, and I'm really excited to teach there! Lots of great things are happening for me, and I'm so grateful for each and every one of them 😻 Venice today was straight out of a dream, honestly. I feel so lucky to be me! I work hard but also surround myself with the right people and vibes, so this is how I succeed! Set up for success and you'll get it 😎 Going to miss Venice so much! One day felt wayyyy too short, but one day is better than no days! I took the train back to Milano, hit up the market for some last-minute groceries and FaceTimed my friends/family to tell them all about Venice, then fell asleep like THAT!

Day 54: July 19

I feel so lucky to be able to spend my last days in Italy exploring the city in which I have spent the most time, as I have worked a lot at photo/video studios here before/in between/after fashion weeks, but haven't had much time to properly explore!

 

I first went to the addominali (abs!) and total body workout classes at my local gym- I am SO glad I committed to a membership here, as I have needed to maintain my tonedness and fitness throughout the new foods I've been trying ☺️ As a yoga sculpt instructor, I feel like I inspire others to get fit, so I really have a rep to maintain- therefore I work out! I also do it for myself, as it makes me feel energized and ready to explore, work, and have fun! I workout basically every  day unless I'm on an excursion somewhere else in Europe. Your health is #1, and sometimes, especially during fashion week, I've forgotten about myself and put my work first. NEVER do that- YOU are the only one who can take care of yourself- it's YOUR life! I don't care how many important shoots you have in a row, you have to take a second for yourself.

 

I finished booking activities for my time in Venice, and then went to go explore Italian Zara/HM. It is so different here, there are huge sales in July so almost everything was super cheap! I got a cute bodycon dress and visor because why not? I also took a minute to admire the Duomo... So gorgeous - always feel so lucky to live right next to it!

 

I rested a bit from the hot Italian sun and went to a late lunch at Sciatt à Porter, which is a super cute small, family-owned-and-operated homestyle italian restaurant serving up traditional Sicilian cuisine, most famously their sciatt à porter, which are balls of mozzarella cheese lightly fried in black flower. The owner, Emma, was the cutest little old Italian nonna! She insisted that my friend and I also try this really tender meat on a stick (that you had to wear a special bib with in order to eat!), polenta, pizzerochi, and mashed potatoes- ALL was so delicious and fresh! The whole restaurant feels like you're in the Italian countryside, with its grass-covered counters, wooden hangings, and plentiful succulents. There is even a screen displaying slideshows of Italian woodlands and the smell of fresh flowers in the air. Awesome!

 

I came here to do #foodporn photos for her restaurant, as I'd read all about it on the internet. They're well-known for their cones of the fresh cheese balls, in which they put a white daisy to signify that you can eat them on the go, aka in the wild where the flowers grow. It made me so happy to see how the owner's face lit up when I told her I'd send her the photos, and she insisted I didn't pay for anything! Aw.

 

My friend Galia and I wandered around Porta Garibaldi and the Corso Como/Moscova area (she's here from Israel for only a few days, so of course I gotta show her around!). These are the two most progressive, modern, and hip areas in all of Milan! Milan is actually super up-and-coming when it comes to tech, fashion, art, and culture...Most people wouldn't expect that, but, then again, most people haven't lived in or explored around Milan for an extensive period of time.

I showed her my favorite street art in all of Milan, a sort of commissioned masterpiece. It's a piece by Gucci, written in the popular black scrawl of the GucciGhost collection font, that reads "Common Sense is Not That Common" on a cream-colored wall. I love how it's in the center of the most bustling part of the modern quarter of Milan, as it really ((sadly))  symbolizes what humanity has become these days.

 

We also walked into Eataly (I know, it's funny that they have these all around the world, and you'd think they wouldn't have them in Italy itself, as it SEEMS to be more of a copy of Italian food!). It was three floors of deliciousness. From meats to fish to pasta to wine to gelato, they had it all! We sampled a ton of foods and enjoyed all of the cute displays, with boats and wine barrels and all. I really enjoyed her telling me about her recently becoming the head of season tickets for all Jerusalem basketball games- how cool! Lots of travel but rewarding job, from what I can tell.

 

I of course then had to show her around Navigli Grande, or the hip nightlife/aperitivo area where I live, which is right on the gorgeous canal. We had lots of fun strolling up and down the canal, watching kayakers, boats, and people pass by. There is epic street art here, and my favorite is the 3D gold statues of a sort of modern Adam and Eve that stick out of the side of one of the big bridges. We watched the sun set there, and then said goodbye, because she had to go visit her friend who is in school to become a car specialist (!) in Torino.

 

I walked to meet up with another friend for aperitivo (the traditional Italian drinks & apps but I always end up making this my dinner because I honestly not that big and sadly can't eat much! Can't fit all of Italy in my stomach, no matter how badly I want to 😭😂) at the trending Trattoria Toscana. We had mojitos, spritzes, and a beyond delicious prosciutto e formaggio plate. The restaurant is so romantic- all outdoors, with a fountain with heart sculptures hanging from the roofover it, great music, and cool art.

 

We then went to Gelateria della Musica, also known as the best gelato in Milan, which was right next to the restaurant. It is so hip! Records covering the walls, flavores named after singers like Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson, and great music always playing. Love this vibe. I got salted pure pistachio ("Lorde") and nocciola ("Prince"). Based on my blogs, it probably seems like all my friends and I do here is EAT EAT EAT (lol kinda accurate?! Just kidding!), but it is just because I find each country's food to be an interesting and important aspect of its culture, and I love trying new things and expediting the country through sights, sounds, smells, and tastes! The full experience! Right next to it is this huge wall of dolls, symbolizing all the women raped and mistreated in the past century, which I find very poetic and powerful. Italy is growing to be quite politically and ethically progressive, and I really am enjoying being here to see the Italian culture being expressed in these ways.

 

We took a nice walk back to my apartment and watched the sunset, and then I packed for my day trip to Venice tomorrow. I am so excited to go to Venice for the second time, it's going to be even more special and beautiful 4 years later because now I will appreciate it more- I am older and choosing to go independently! I can't believe I go home to DC Monday. I've had the absolute BEST time in Europe and working/living in Milan (and all over), and I wouldn't trade my experience for the WORLD! Have to get up SUPER early for Venice tomorrow, so, for now, goodnight. 

Day 53: July 18

My "Italian vacation" aka explorations/photoshoots continues. I woke up late, since I stayed up super late last night booking the train ticket to Venice, and proceeded to book a three hour walking tour for my trip to Venice on Thursday- the rest of the time, I am just going to "wing it"- the whole thing will be SO fun! It's only going to be a day trip but, as always, I'm going to get so much done and have the best time! I definitely make all of my trips worth it.

 

Today I went on a lot of Milan adventures. First stop? Ports Nuova/Piazza Gae Aulenti at Porta Garibaldi FS metro stop. This plaza has ginormous skyscrapers (including the delightfully pointy Unicredit Tower building reminding me of all the pointy buildings at USC {less than a month until move in!}), hip restaurants and stores, lots of water – Inc. architecture, and an office/chill vibe. From there, you can see and walk to Bosco Verticale, a sort of office building – forest hybrid. Milan is honestly the dopest city in the world! After traveling all around Europe these past two months, I can assure you that Milan is the best at incorporating modern into nature.

 

The best part about this area, is that you go under ground one level below street level, and you have beautiful views looking up at the skyscrapers. This level has lots of organic restaurants and I feel like it's been one level under the ground symbolizes that all of the ingredients at the restaurants are coming from the earth. I really respect how in Italy all of the ingredients are fresh (for the most part... talking about all the places I have been!), and a how difficult it would be to find something processed. Honestly, you would have to dig around  for something non-organic. I can basically eat whatever I want here, obviously will still working out, and still look amazing! The same would not be true in America. If I ate pasta and bread and sugar in America, the ingredients would be less fresh and less organic, so it would be difficult to maintain my physique! Well... I do walk a lot here too- 8 miles today! And that's the least I'm walking! Gonna miss it here!

 

Next, I explored the Milanese Chinatown, which has its center at Via Paolo Sarpi. I had lunch at the famed street food venue Ravioleria Sarpi Chinese crêpe/pork dumplings. To die for. You would never think that Emily would have such great Chinese food, but it does! It is so funny, you walk through Chinatown and see half the signs in Italian and half the Signs in Chinese. As an American, when I came to Milan, I did not expect there to be a Chinatown! Go figure. I got my mom and my sister cute phone cases from a little shop and walked around. They have awesome street art, lots of cheap little shops, and delicious food! Even had a passion fruit boba.

 

I then visited the nearby Cimitero Monumentale di Milano- what a trip. I went in expecting to only see the Last Supper sculpture, but I ended up getting a full-blown tour by the cutest little old Italian man who insisted that I see everything, as he saw that I have a camera and I suppose assumed that I would make his cemetery a bit famous! He is the head of all operations for this marvelous attention, and is very proud of his maintenance of the facilities. It is basically a huge work of art. There are a lot of intricate, ancient, and prolific headstones, mausoleums, statues, gardens, sarcophagi, walls of memorials, sculptures, chapels, castles, buildings, and more. I spent two hours being let around the Christian and Jewish sectors of the cemetery, in addition to all of the most famous parts of the cemetery. He even showed me where the most prominent Italians were buried with in this huge complex. Speechless!

 

I went to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to go to the Gucci Café, where they apparently weite Gucci in chocolate on your cappuccino, but apparently the café closed recently. This was very upsetting to me, and I compensated for my sadness by windowshopping and Gucci! It is my favorite brand and I take a lot of inspiration for my photography from Alessandro Michele and his universe of awesome creations.

 

I went to the gym and worked out and then went to one of the most famous restaurants in Italy: Le Striatelle di Nonna Mafalda, which happens to be less than a mile from my apartment! I ended up sitting next to the head interior designer for Gucci, go figure! He is a really cool Milanese guy who travels all over the world to design new stores for beauties constantly evolving concepts. He wants me to do photos for him one day maybe – that would be so awesome! I had 3 rounds of striatelle- trifecta, anyone? Had striatelle with prosciutto/mozzarella, then striatelle in a beef burger-type dish with a salad, potatoes, and chicken, and, last but not least striatelle alla nutella. There are no words to describe how full/happy I am right now! Last week in Italy, have to get in all of the good food 😏

 

I cannot believe that this is my final week in Italy, I am having a blast and I'm so grateful for the amazing things I have learned, awesome people I have met, and extraordinary things I have seen! I will remember this my entire life, and I'm very proud to say this is my fifth study abroad. As a 19-year-old, I feel that I have a unique position in life, as I have seen so much at such a young age. I feel that, having these international experiences, it is my responsibility to bring my experiences into action, and show everyone else just how breathtaking and life-changing our world is through my photography/videography.

Day 52: July 17

I came back from Rome last night because we had a big shoot at work today! Was hard to get up, but my strong Italian coffee really helped. Barely slept at all last night, maybe because I was still so excited from the awesome trip I had in Roma, or maybe because it feels like an oven in any apartment in Milano, since AC isn't a thing here! 😩😂 Anyway, it was worth coming back late and losing sleep to get more work experience 👍🏽

 

Work is always fun when you're shooting Manila Grace and GQ! Today we shot more pieces on mannequins- lots of perfectionism involved! It could take 5 minutes to an hour to take the perfect full piece, detail, and tag shots of a single item of clothing. This morning, it took us 3 hours just to find, tag, and shoot 2 items of clothing- wow. We also have to locate missing files/desired folders in the mess of the computer system, so that really keeps us busy... Sadly I found out that today is my last day working at Diggy Style, as, after careful consideration and planning, I have realized that I need to be editing and uploading my fashion week photos and videos in order to be "noticed" aka in order for the photos to be relevant. It is too bad, as I really enjoyed working with the models and coworkers in the studio, but the time has come for me to finish up my time in italy and head back to America to edit and spend some time with family before going off to LA to continue my studies to be a producer.

 

For lunch, I did like the locals do: ate at God Save the Food! Had myself a green juice and an avocado salad with shrimp 😋 Healthy! Needed that after the weekend of pasta in Roma!

 

I finished work, said my goodbyes, and went back to my apartment to nap- sometimes you have to feel well-rested in order to do your best in all aspects of your life!

 

I did a really challenging body pump work out with one of my instructor friends at my gym – I'm going to miss working here in Milan, but I'm going to miss working out even more! I read so many great friends at my gym, and I cannot believe I go back to the United States Monday! I feel like I've lived in Europe forever, but at the same time, I feels like I just got here! I'm sure I'll be back again.

 

Some of my Italian friends took me out to dinner at what is apparently the best Italian restaurant in all of Milan – Da Oscar. We had prosciutto, the signature gnocchi al ragù that apparently people will take trains from places varying from Turin to Rome to Bologna just to taste, and wonderfully homemade tiramisu! I love traditional Italian restaurants because you always see the owner hanging out and admiring how crowded his/her restaurant is. The icing on the cake was when a guy playing the accordion came into the restaurant and meet everyone just totally lit up! Such an adorable little place: Mussolini quotes everywhere, WWII paraphernalia, and such.

 

I just booked my train tickets to Venice for Thursday, because why not! I've been there before, just like I've been to most of Italy on the trip I went on when I was 15, but it's always different the second time you see a beautiful place. You know it, so you know exactly which details the focus on, and it becomes less and less overwhelming and more and more beautiful and meaningful.

 

I cannot believe today was my last day interning at a photography studio. I have had THE best time shooting for two separate companies, SHOWbit and Diggy Style, as well as my own label, westxphoto, which my coworkers said is "wavy" (the new European word for "cool" lol). I cannot wait to continue working as a photographer and producer in the United States, and to continue with my USC studies toward becoming an industry executive/producer... Honestly could not be at a better school for that- number one Business Cinematic Arts program in the world, and I'm so lucky to be a part of it! 🤗 This experience in Italy has taught me SO much and has really expanded my capabilities as well as point of view, so working in LA will no longer be as difficult as it was in Italy, with putting all the aspects together of the travel logistics and figuring out how to do essentially anything in a foreign country. Thankful for this life – changing journey!

Day 51: July 16

Today I explored more of Rome with my fashion week friends before returning to Milan. First, I woke up in my beautiful bed in the extravagant, lovely Villa Spalletti Trivelli, and had a nice breakfast in the garden. I then went to the rooftop of the hotel, which has a jacuzzi, open bar, and lounges- gorgeous views of entire city. This hotel doesn't even feel like a CONVERTED villa, it feels like a true villa in existence! Honestly they treat guests like royalty here. Fabulous. 

 

I visited Castel Sant'Angelo and walked across the famous bridge from which you can see all the monuments. The weather today was PERFECT! I had fast pass and audio guide tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica, so I roamed through Piazza San Pietro first to take in the sights of the obelisk, fountain, dome, statues, and more. I got some Vatican City & Rome pins for my appliqué and DIY obsession! St. Peter's Basilica itself is a marvel of history. There was just so much gold, lacquered, sculpted, and painted beauty to admire. My favorite parts were Michelangelo's only signed work, Pietà, and Bernini's Baldacchino, the piece at the center of the church. The incredibly intricate, old, and stunning frescoes, paintings, carvings, and more are quite truthfully beyond description... You must go and see it for yourself. It took me over two hours to just marvel and enjoy.

 

I walked over to the pantheon, taking in all the amazing sights of Rome. The pantheon was even more magical during the day than it was at night, because I could actually go in! Can't believe how well-preserved it is- and the skylight is just the icing on the cake- the religious paintings, statues, and relics are so culturally rich and reminiscent of ancient Rome. I had some amazing arugula pizza and visited the Trevi fountain- MUCH more crowded during the day than it was when I went at night, which is hard to believe since it was extremely crowded at night 😩

 

Next, I met up with my friends Ilian (insta: @rachov) and Valerio, who I thankfully met at London Fashion Week Men's- they have changed my LIFE! I always love making new friends who bring me joy and share their successes with me. Ilian is an extremely successful designer and artist who has worked with names from Versace to Penelope Cruz to Silvio Fiorello, and Valerio is the youngest enterprising buyer for a very prestigious Japanese clothing company I've ever met! We joke that Valerio needs his own E! News show, because, honestly, he is the epitome of FASHION POLICE! Ilian most recently just made an appearance at the Archaeological Museum of Naples, where he opened his 20th anniversary tribute to Giovanni Versace's unfortunate death. The opening was SO star-studded and over-the-top, of course! I wish I could've gone, but I had a photoshoot with Manila Grace! We all always have so much fun together exploring the hip places, shows/presentations, and parties in all of the cities we did fashion week at, and now they have shown me the best parts of Rome!

 

We first met at Giolitti, the traditional and most delicious gelateria in Rome (and, in my opinion, in all of Italy!). I got gianduia, a special sweet chocolate from Turin (which I hope to visit next weekend!), and crema. They brought the gelato in these decadent glasses, topped with cream and biscuits! THE way to do it. My two favorite Roman (well... Ilian is Bulgarian, but Roman at heart) boys showed me how to SLAY Rome. They showed me literally all of the local secret places.

 

They explained to me how the obelisk outside of the  Roman Parliament, which has an astoundingly large clock tower and flags, has been there since 70 AD, and that it depicts a war scene. Wow. We went to San Silvestro in Capite, which is a Roman church that integrates its ruins and contains some of the most gorgeous pieces of artwork I've ever seen! The priest talked to us and told us about how Mark Wahlberg was there just yesterday filming for his next film about Gerry's son's kidnapper. Fantastic! There was even a lovely choir singing, and Ilian showed us how the artists gold-leafed the wooden statues and gave us a real tour of the place! There are crypts below filled with sarcophagi. Also, even though I am history-obsessed, I didn't know this fact: many churches, including this one, do not have walls of marble, rather, walls painted to LOOK LIKE marble.

 

Valerio insisted I try fresh cannoli- how could I resist. First, we tried the just-made ricotta cream, and then ate the most decadent cannoli I've had in my life! Freshly baked and made from scratch. You honestly cannot beat that. Then, Ilian took us to Tavolini Canova, the old workshop of grand master Canova... He says he likes to have his Coke (he's obsessed! he has every day- so cute!) or coffee here. It is an adorable bar that is essentially 2 floors filled with Canova's masterful statues/sculptures. Even his studio is preserved- it's honestly one of the most amazing things I've seen in Rome. It is said that his ghost haunts the establishment- Italians are very superstitious!

 

We exposed Santa Maria Del Popolo, a church housing the Caravaggio paintings. These are some of the MOST beautiful paintings I've seen in my life, and the ceiling frescoes....! All of the churches in Rome are quite similar yet different, in that they all have immensely breathtaking artwork and features, but they all vary a bit- which means that I must see AS MANY as I can, as objects of beauty are my specialty!  I loved the sarcophagi and the inclusion of marble-carved skulls into the walls. We were going to grab a drink at the famous hotel in which all the celebrities stay when they're in Rome (it's in Piazza del Popolo), and Ilian goes frequently to the bar there, but it was closed because U2 is in town and they're staying there. There was a huge crowd outside of the hotel-- just like the crowds outside of the Versace show at fashion week a few weeks ago, LOL!

 

We saw Mausoleo de Agosto and studied the history of how the place of interest has changed so many times throughout history, going from mausoleum to circus to opera to gymnasium to restored version of its original purpose... Crazy how during WWII Mussolini basically just tore it down and restored it- pretty ridiculous that a lot of monuments and important locations in this city have changed in use and appearance so much over the years. But, it makes sense: Europe is SO much older than America! I wjish I lived in a country with such an big past and so much history.

 

 We visited the Spanish Plaza- gorgeous! We admired (and, obviously, critiqued!) its designer stores and compared what we saw in the windows to what we saw in the recent fashion week shows of the same brands. We enjoyed the Spanish Steps and yet another one of Bernini's fabulous fountains, and Ilian is friends with the owner of all the horse carriages in Rome, so the man let me sit in the horse carriage and take some glamour shots- feeling FAMOUS! 💋 Ilian and Valerio are the best, they know EVERYone!

 

We saw the Church of Saint Louis, a French masterpiece. Yet even MORE gorgeous art and frescoes in this one! The organ was adorned with cherubs, and the ceiling had almost a 3D effect. Some of the most famous French paintings in Italy are in here, which really doesn't surprise me- these two friends of mine really do know the BEST this city has to offer, and I genuinely enjoyed their company and their showing me the beauties of Rome! A visit to Rome wouldn't be complete without seeing this magnificent church.

 

We wandered throughout Rome and when we got to Piazza Navona, Ilian explained to me the rivalry between Bernini, with his fountain of four rivers, and Borromini, with his building behind it. The building was there first, so when Bernini built his fountain, he designed the sculptures of the men facing the building as covering their eyes, as to block the view of the "ugly" building made by his rival, Borromini. But, Borromini had a pretty good comeback: he added a statue of a woman to the top of his building, and designed it so that she averts her eyes from the fountain he so hated in front of his building- ha!

 

We ate dinner at one of Ilian's favorite restaurants, Lo Zozzone, where we hung out with the owner and staff- he is a favorite there! It was my first time having  spaghetti carbonara, and let me just say, as someone who is usually very healthy and doesn't indulge much, this one was WORTH it! The bread was homemade, too. The restaurant was so delicious and cute- had lots of peperoncino and corn and vegetables hanging- so authentic! We sat outside and enjoyed the views of Rome. Around 8, they then rushed me back to my hotel to pack up and leave- they visited and ultimately approved of the lavish home-turned-hotel in which I stayed! 😍

 

I wouldn't have been able to have such an outstandingly stellar time in Rome without the help of my babes Ilian and Valerio! I am so grateful to them for being such good friends and for showing me around Rome. They truly know what's best, and I officially grant them the title of purveyors of Rome's finest 😜 Can't wait for our future adventures together, and I really had a WONDERFUL time in Rome this past weekend.

 

I hope you all love reading my daily European fashion weeks adventure blog, and that I can convey at least 0.0001% of how surreal and fun this trip is! Now, I'm on the 3.5 hour train back to Milan, and I hope to get a wink of sleep before photo shoots at the studio tomorrow.

Day 50: July 15

Today was Amanda Rome West's ONLY full day in ROME- so overwhelmingly gorgeous and action-packed! First, I woke up in my comfy infinite-sized bed in the villa in which I am staying. Right near the heart of Rome, so convenient! I then got ready for the day (which includes making sure all my cameras are charged, makeup on point, sunscreen/bugspray, and everything), and went to breakfast downstairs in the grand dining hall. Lots of proscuittos, treats, porridges, and traditional Roman breakfast fair! Of course I had a cappuccino- needed caffeine to slay such a big day!

 

I first went to the Vatican Museums, where I explored and viewed lots of stunning art, including frescoes, churches/chapels, statues, sculptures, domes, and more! My favorites were the Gallery of the Maps, a huge hall filled with frescoes of ancient Roman maps of the Aegean and Mediterranean, Momo's Staircase, the famed spiraling stairs that goes down floors and floors, the Raphael Rooms, which house some of Raphael's most well-known and beautiful frescos and works of art, and, last but not least, the Sistine Chapel, which had a new meaning for me after living in Italy for so long and truly understanding the culture here. And, yes, I know you were wondering... I SNAGGED a the photo of that chapel! I'm slick like that. 😏 I enjoyed seeing Piazza San Pietro, but had to rush over to my tour of Ancient Rome- I will see the plaza again tomorrow, when I go to see St. Peter's!

 

I went on a 4-hour tour of the Colosseo, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Constantine's Triumphant Arch, Arch of Titus, Circo Massimo, and all of ancient Rome.  As a producer, I am a big fan of many of the movies like Ben-Hur, Zoolander 2, and others that have been filmed in Roman venues such as Circus Maximus, the Coliseum, and more... Pretty surreal to be seeing where the magic happens while studying to be in the Industry! I genuinely loved how comprehensive our guide was, as he explained every single aspect of ancient Rome in extreme detail. I'm a history freak so this was a dream for me!

 

I was starving- didn't have lunch- so, by the end of the tour, around 6, I was starving! I got delicious homemade pistachio & stracciatella gelato. My new friend Dan, whose family owns the famous restaurant I adored from last night, insisted on giving me a true local's tour of Rome, which included a stellar view of St. Peter's Basilica through a peephole of a secret door- he wouldn't tell me where we were going, it was a surprise! 😜 All I can say is, it is one of those moments where you truly had to be there to fully understand how breathtakingly beautiful the view was. I know that expression is super overused, but it is the only way I know to describe it. Absolutely life-changingly PRETTY!!!

 

He also surprised me by taking me to the well-kept secret that apparently only few Italians-and no foreigners- know of: Giardino degli Aranci, or, in English, the Garden of Oranges. Woah. It was an intimate, romantic setting- there was even a wedding there while we visited!- with orange trees, a castle, unbelievable panoramic views of the entire city, and lots of interesting people watching! He gave me a ton of recommendations for where to eat, things to do, and places to see in Rome- I had compiled a huge list this week thanks to the internet, my colleagues, Roman friends, Milan friends, fashion week friends,  Versace friends, Italian in general friends, and more... WOW! TOO many awesome Bucket List items 😱 Might just have to come back ASAP haha.

 

Dan had to go to work at his restaurant, so he dropped me off at the gorgeous monument Altare Della Patria en Piazza Venezia, where I wandered around and met up with some LFWM friends and then climbed up to Piazza de Campedoglio, which had a gorgeous church (with lots of steps of course!!!) and flowers 👸🏻 I stopped at the insta-famous Cin Cin Bar, where I had arancini di proscuittto e mozzarella... TO DIE FOR 😍 everything of my dreams and more. 😩

 

I walked 2 miles and climbed up to Pincio at the end of Via Del Corso. The most beautiful view of all of Rome is from the top of Piazza Del Popolo, in Villa Borghese, I guarantee it. I hung out there and watched the sun set over obelisks, Palantine Hill, all the monuments, St. Peter's Basilica (can't wait to go tomorrow!), and more. One of the prettiest sunsets of my life. Barcelona was pretty gorgeous too lol. But Rome might top it... I don't know it could be a winner... 😏 I really enjoyed the ((stolen grrrr)) Egyptian statues and palm trees as I walked up to the view point because they are very different from what you see in the rest of italy!

 

Per Dan's recommendation, I went to Hosteria da Pietro, about a mile from Pincio, where I had bucatini amatriciana, which is a famous Roman cuisine- hollow spaghetti pasta al dente with pork cheek ragu and tomatoes. Yummy!

 

I then had more gelato ((nocciola)) because when in Rome, right?! Angelino is apparently the best gelato in Rome, and it's right near the Colosseo. I had THE best time exploring the Colosseo at night, and taking night photos of the mammoth monument! It has always been a desire of mine to see it lit up at night. I walked around the entire perimeter, just admiring it!

 

I walked back to Villa Spalletti Trivelli, exhausted and happy with all I saw ☺️ I think I did pretty amazingly for one full day in Rome... Can't wait to see more (and see more friends!) tomorrow. The last time I went to Rome I was 15, so this is a really big deal for me because it is in recent memory but not such recent memory that I didn't want to see EVERYTHING again (because I did)- rather, it almost makes me want to see everything more in DEPTH this time. I seriously appreciate everything I'm seeing and doing not only on this Rome weekend vacation, but in this Eurotrip/USC Winslow-Maxwell fashion business program overall! Loving the opportunities! PS I walked 12 miles today- a distance even my Nikes couldn't take 😂

Day 49: July 14

First, let me just say... TGIF! Today at work I learned how to batch adjust and crop raw files for ecommerce format. It is very repetitive and involves using Bridge and Photoshop, but I got this! I also spent time shooting the mannequins with the other intern for the Manila Grace FW 2017/2018 children's line. We finally finished shooting all the pieces today! 👏🏽 I also had to organize the studio and fold the clothes that we have now finished shooting.

 

I had delicious chicken fajitas (but obviously not as good as the ones in Cali) at the famed brunch spot God Save the Food, which is right by the office! Yummy! Love the minimalist aesthetic of this restaurant, makes me think of LA... Which, by the way, I am missing a lot these days. Can't beat having a beach a few miles away/living right near or even with all of your best friends. Sigh. Milan's cool though 😅

 

In the afternoon, I shot accessories with Antonio. He taught me all about the proper lighting and how to style the pieces. He also told me all about his past of shooting for luxury brands and being put up in resorts with Madonna, presidents, etc. as he shot- cool! He even spent 6 years traveling around the world shooting for just ONE brand. He also told me about when he used to shoot for La Perla- the Italian brand unfortunately has relocated to London.

 

I rushed home to pack for my weekend sojourn in Rome, and then ran to the train at Centrale. I sat next to the nicest Roman who gave me awesome recommendations! 4 hours later, we arrived in Rome!

 

The Villa in which I'm staying, Spalletti Trivelli, is absolutely breathtaking. It's a converted ancient villa that houses epic art, furniture, gardens, jacuzzis, and MORE! They have gigantic terraces, guest rooms, and public chambers- not to mention the fully-stocked bar in the living room. The suite is even COOLER- great views, HUGE king size bed, ancient art... And a complementary mini bar. Each room has its own crest even! One of the most exquisite hotels- dare you call it that, because I'd call it a PALACE!- in Rome!

 

I explored around the hotel and stumble upon what is apparently one of the best restaurants in Rome, Rinaldi al Quirinale du Rinaldi Antonio... The owner, Dan Rinaldi himself, knows of me as an "LA celebrity" from Instagram (@amandaromewest for my personal), so he gave me a complementary 3-course fine dining meal! Whattttt! And, get this-- 4 separate individuals, who were all British or European, knew of me and asked me for photos- crazy! Feeling happy that my photos are garnering awareness of the beauty of the amazing world we live in!

 

The owner gave me a tour of the exclusive wine cellar, which is listed at over 7 million USD and includes the most expensive wines in the world and Hitler's last bottle of wine from 1936, of which he offered me a sample I gladly accepted. He showed me the entire restaurant, including all the rooms in which notables from Trump to Putin to Lionel Richie have dined... All I can say is... Woah. I had the famed cacio e pepe, spinach, prosecco, and sicilian cannoli. Mind. Blown. Dope frescoes on the ceiling, too. He asked me to stay for more drinks, but I had to go to....

 

The Trevi Fountain to meet up with my friend from ELEMENTARY SCHOOL- I kid you not, 2nd grade- to tour Rome by NIGHT! We saw the iconic fountain, the

Pantheon, which her super posh hotel is near, Fontana Del Pantheon, featuring its signature obelisk, Campo de' Fiori, which is famous for flower/farmers markets during the day, and Piazza Navona with its stunning Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. This is my second time in Rome, but I feel like this time I'm appreciating it even more! It's especially cool to wander around Rome at 2 AM! We actually even ran into a friend of mine from USC at Campo- how ridiculous! Trojans everywhere, fight on! Oh, and shoutout to the Colosseum, which is at both USC (football stadium) and Rome (duh). Amanda ROME West is finally back in Rome! Make sure to follow me on Instagram, @westxphoto and @amandaromewest, for European slayage. Xo

Day 48: July 13

Today at work we continued the Manila Grace e-commerce fall/winter 2017/2018 photo shoot. We shot with yet another Russian model and did pants, shirts, shoes, and accessories like scarves, hats, shoes, . It takes a lot of time to do each item of clothing, because sometimes there are wrinkles or defects in the clothes and we have to improvise/iron/steam/get reaaaaally creative. For example, today a pair of pants had a tie that was broken, so I had to tie a fake knot that made it look like the pants were SUPPOSED to look like that! Creative thinking comes in handy at this job!

 

We also shot more of the bambino/children line. We had to dress the child-sized mannequin and had to use rolls of scotch tape to keep the arms at desired width again. It's funny how we always have to come up with solutions to odd situations you would never think happened in the final photos!

 

I went to a typical lunch of burrata, arugula, prosciutto, and tomato- and, of course, espresso- with the Italian intern Elisa. We have a lot of fun teaching each other our respective languages. I want to learn more Italian and she wants to learn more English, and we might as well teach each other while we shoot!

 

Styling and shooting the clothes is often frustrating, but, in the end, it really teaches you lots of patience and gives you an eye for true symmetry. By the end of the day, I'm always seeing everything through a viewpoint of symmetry LOL.

 

I walked around Corso Garibaldi browsing at some famous vintage shops. I bargained for a yellow tube top that I got from €30 to €5 at the American-influenced Surplus. This top is perfect for USC game days this fall, ftfo ❤💛✌🏽! Had to do some grocery shopping (which is always fun because of all the goods that are so much higher quality and so different than the ones in the USA, as well as the spectacle of watching the butcher cut cold cuts and cheeses and make fresh pasta for the shoppers!), packed for my weekend trip to Rome (I leave tomorrow night after work- I don't want to ask for a day off because it's my first week, and I don't plan on asking for any days off because I want to show my Diggy Style bosses how much of a hard worker I am  ☺️), and then went to one of my fitness instructor friends' Italian total body workout classes! Made myself a healthy Italian supper of zucchini and GF fusilli with homemade meat sauce... Busy day!

 

My friend, who happens to also work in the entertainment industry- VIACOM/MTV Italia, actually, invited me to a museo nazionale della scienza e tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci cult night event and drinks, so, of course, I HAD to go! Us two Americans living la dolce vita had to have a blast! An epic evening filled with touring the inside of Italian planes, trains, submarines, robots, and more, listening to fabulous hip DJs in the museum, eating artisanal gelato, learning more about the Italian music industry, enjoying a "Night at the Museum" 😜, and me somehow ending up singing Italian karaoke with two encores. It's always great to meet up with a fellow industry member, and even better to learn more Italian, more industry knowledge, and more about American to European life, as one day I may consider coming back here with my family to live here for a while... Who knows!

 

It was so cool to be in such a hip environment with all of these locals, enjoying the insides of machines that date back to the 1600s and sometimes even from the cold war… And to be dancing in the street with them right afterward! So surreal! Every night after work I find myself going on miraculous adventures, it makes me almost forget about sleep! But, I must get a wink of rest before a long day at work and then my trip to Rome tomorrow. Buonanotte!

Day 47: July 12

I love how when I walk to my office it feels like I am part of a big squad of artists. Whether you are an animator, designer, architect, musician, painter, photographer, or anything else artistic/fashion related in Milan, you usually are working in Navigli! It really feels like I am part of a community. It is an approximately 20 minute walk to work from my apartment, and I truly do enjoy it. I also stopped by the tabacchi ("tobacco"- it is a casual bar where you get a brioche, sandwich, coffee, etc.) near my apartment, where I got a caffe nutellino, or, a tiny shot of coffee with a drop of Nutella in it 😂

 

Today at work we continued shooting Manila Grace's newest collection. We had a different model, Lia, (Russian again lol!), who modeled tops and pants for the photos. We basically shoot the model with either pants or a shirt on, and then later I suppose we Photoshop out the model and have a "ghost" inside of the clothes – this is how it is shown on the company's website. So you're basically shooting the model with the purpose of the model being a living mannequin- she is deleted after!

 

. It is very hard to be an intern call responsible for shooting the clothes in one single day, because you have to style, iron, clip, adjust, shoot, and his light the entire thing.

 

I am learning a lot about the basics of using CaptureOne just through experience and practice, and have been getting more and more efficient at styling, shooting, and ranking more quickly as the hours progress! This job is is hard and long, but I am happy to work here because I am absorbing so much information about being a professional fashion photographer and even picking up more Italian. As long as I'm learning, I'm happy! Unfortunately, this is an unpaid internship, as the rules of my visa permit, but, again, as long as I'm learning it's all good.

 

For lunch, which is around 1:30 in our office (always am so hungry by then lol), I went to a traditional Milanese trattoria, where I got famous Milanese gnocco fritto e tigelle a volonta con degustazione di salumi tipici piacentini e formaggi comprensivo, which is essentially fried hollowed out bread accompanied by an assortment of cheeses and meats as well as jam/honey, and espresso, which is super bitter but wakes you right up. I love watching the Italians around me talk, eat, and just BE! Interesting to observe and participate in different cultures. This is why I'm on my fifth study abroad, after all! 😋

 

I spend the afternoon shooting more shirt and pants photos of the Russian model for the Manila Grace ecommerce campaign. It is a lot of work! I have to do everything, as I said, I often have to come up with my own creative solutions to the problems I encountered when shooting. For example, sometimes the pants were too big for the model, so I have to find ways to twist and pin the pants back so that the photos look good and symmetrical. You simply cannot bother your boss with petty issues like this, you have to come up with your own solutions.

 

I also shot children's wear for the campaign. It is so funny, I have to dress a mannequin and  then photoshop it out to make it look like when we do the "ghost" live model photos. In this studio, the models are LITERALLY mannequins, and then we have actual mannequins. At Diggy Style, we have so many types of mannequins, and for the children's wear, we have to take the arms off to put the clothes on and put rolls of scotch tape under the arms so that they are far enough apart from the body of the mannequin (this makes the photos more attractive).

 

All of this seems like, and really is, a lot of work, but it is totally worth it. I really enjoy having to problem solve throughout my day, as I am an aspiring producer. In the entertainment industry, you really have to think on your feet and solve issues with what seems like ease and grace. You must work in the moment and be good at working calmly through stressful situations, and this is good practice for that!

 

I walked to the gym and did a really hard workout that I designed for myself! It is always so fun to see my Italian friend at the gym, and then converse with them in Italian. One of my bosses at Diggy Style doesn't speak in English with me, so, through this situation, and through living in Italy for almost 2 months now as well as through taking Italian workout classes, taking a week of basic Italian class in May (which didn't really help much at all lol), and having worked at other jobs that only speak Italian, I have come to understand and even speak a little Italian! Voila!

 

I made myself a modernized traditional Italian dinner of gluten free fusili with homemade onion/tomato/garlic/chicken sauce and grilled zucchini, and began my application for the USC Career Advantage Program, as well as updated my LinkedIn. You have to be on top of these things to really succeed in this industry! Sometimes you have to have a night into finish all the things need to do. I'm looking forward to another productive day at work tomorrow, and cannot wait to go to Rome this weekend. I am really enjoying each of my days in Milan, and honestly can't believe how fast the time is flying by!

Day 46: July 11

Today was my first day working at Diggy Style photography studio Milano! I love the office, it's so hip and chic. In a very popular, up-and-coming part of Navigli, too! Right by Via Tortona.

 

First, my bosses showed me how to use CaptureOne, and then put me to work. I met the other intern, Elisa, who is 32 (the interns in Italy are older!), who also happens to be starting today and who also worked at SHOWbit with me on post production, as well as the ecommerce model, Helena. Both of them do not speak much English, and neither did my losses, but I always have had a knack for languages so I'm pretty good at figuring out what people mean. The mom speaks Russian and the rest of the team speaks Italian.

 

Today I shot for a brand called Manila Grace, which is sold online and made in Italy. Basically, what I did today was I shot photos of the model

Wearing lots of different outfits as well as the clothes by themselves, held up. I shot with Meka's Canon 5D Mark III (I have the same one!!! Best camera ever!), and CaptureOne tethered on the Mac/monitor, complete with lights, generators, reflectors, the whole studio bit. Hard work but always have a blast. Learning a lot, too!

 

After work, I decided to explore more of Milano, you know, take the opportunity to travel around the historically rich city in which I live and work. 😉 I visited Chiesa di Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, a former nunnery and famed female church. I felt this one hardcore, as I went to all girls school for ten years 😂 No seriously the frescoes in here were to die for, and apparently the country of Italy is considering closing this church to the public because it costs to much to operate. This makes me sad! They should charge money to those who enter or set up a fundraiser- this church is too cool to be shut down! History = dope, as I've been taught from a young age.

 

I then went to the Basilica d'Sant Ambrosio, which literally houses the remains of Saint Ambrosio himself. How awesome. There's a skeleton dressed in regal religious attire aka him in a box on display!!! When I die, someone please dress me up in a crown and a cape and put me on display 🙃 There were ridiculously detailed metallic mosaics on the ceiling in this church, and I really would love one like this in my apartment. Haha. You think I'm kidding, but email me if you want to make me one! 😜

 

I took a quick detour to Frankly Bubble Tea- finally, boba like it's MEANT TO BE! Reminded me of LA and made me a bit homesick- their delicious chai latte bubble tea really did the trick on this boiling hot Italian day. I miss my best friends with whom I almost always get boba after teaching yoga at USC in LA! Well, I'll be back to that soon enough ((next month))- for now, it is a pleasure to work in and enjoy Italy!

 

Finally, I visited Santa Maria delle Grazie, which is known for its housing Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting. No photos were allowed but let me just say artwork you see online is NOT the same quality as that which you see in person! Wow! You MUST go see it. The tickets sell out super quickly, so make sure to book your tour several months in advance. It's absolutely surreal. The outside is gorgeous, too- frescoes on the outer part of the church and great Italian architecture.

 

I went out to late drinks and dinner with a huge crowd of Italian friends of an American photographer friend of mine- had THE best time! Italians know how to do it RIGHT! They go out almost every night of the week- including Tuesday!- and especially in summer have a good time. We had spritz and danced and hung out, listening to wonderful live music, at Ponkj, a hip Italian locals-only type bar just down the street from me in Navigli. We stayed out very late and had a quite late dinner at a cute Greek place- gyros & beer all around! 😉 Met a lot of cool artists tonight, will definitely keep in touch.

 

I am so glad that I am having so much fun in Milan and that I am meeting a ton of cool people. It is truly a pleasure to live in Navigli, the most popular area of Milan, and to work here too! Here's to another fabulous day tomorrow. PS walked 9 miles today- not even the most I've done on this trip but still- WOAH! #athleticvibes #eurobod lol

Day 45: July 10

Today I had an interview at Diggy Style, a prestigious and famed photography studio located in the really hip area of Navigli in Milano (right by my house!). The entrance to the office and simple, because it is in a building complex with an awesome hotel that has really modern decor as well as Elite Models Management, among other well-known and cool companies. I got the job, and I am looking forward to interning there, where I will learn the workflow of a fast-pace fashion photography studio, work in CaptureOne, Photoshop, and other professional photography programs, and even work at the shoots.

 

The professional photographers here who will be my bosses, Meka and Antonio, work with numerous glamorous magazines such as Vogue, GQ, and more, and they shoot for e-commerce and important brands, as well. They shoot very artistic photos that are heavily retouched and morphed in digital programs. Meka is in the top three best post-production editors  in Italy, and Antonio is similarly highly talented! Can't wait to learn a lot from them.

I am excited to learn this type of photography and editing! Should be helpful in experiencing more studios, as I want to be a producer.

 

As it my final day of exploring before work starts tomorrow, I decided to visit all of the important churches in Milan that I haven't seen yet! First I went to Chiesa di Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, but it was closed- it's Monday- and apparently one of the other churches I wanted to visit is closed, too. So I explored the Centro Storico area and enjoying snapping some photogenic street shots.

 

I then had a delicious fresh ginger-pineapple juice and Caesar salad at the trendy Galleria Meravigli Bistrot. I loved all the hanging star decorations and minimalist aesthetics. I then wandered around the area some more and had some nocciola gelato 😍

 

I went to Madina Milano to buy the "cult favorite" chic and shine highlight stick for my mother, sister, and myself. It's so popular that you cannot even buy it online, you can only buy it in person in Milan! The store is super cute and Italian 😌 I also got a ton of epic shiny eye shadows, bright lipsticks, a super mega mascara, and some eyeliners! Gotta love Italian sales.

 

I did some more vintage ((window)) shopping at Il Bivio Milano, and then went home to edit some photos from Berlin! What an exciting thing it is to be living and working in Italy while taking trips on the weekends to see friends, go to concerts, enjoy new countries, and even experience the city of Milan itself. I find magical things in everyday life here in Milan each new day, and feel so lucky to be here living out my dreams of interning at a really big photo studio and learning more about myself and what I want to do with the rest of my life!

 

I attended a total body workout fitness class and it was super fun and HARD! Almost as hard as the westYS class I teach in LA! The instructor was quite flamboyant and I had a good time jumping around with him to all of the Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus songs! I always really enjoy not only the workout class, but also my walks to and from the workout class. I especially love seeing the streets of Milan in the evening as the sun is setting. Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

 

I walked over to Toyama, a unlimited/all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant in Navigli right by my apartment. I got surprisingly extremely good food including edamame, sashimi, miso soup, dumplings, and more. This all-you-can-eat Milanese Japanese restaurant had MUCH more reasonable portion sizes than the one I went to 2 weeks ago... Apparently these types of Japanese restaurants are popular here haha.

 

I honestly love walking alone in Milan at night. That sounds really bad, but it is really crowded and safe. The lights on all of the storefronts and the thousands of people milling about are so beautiful. There's so much energy and one small space, you can almost feel everyone's life story within you .... Tonight felt like I was part of Milan, like I was Milanese. I taught myself enough Italian to get by... At the gym and at any restaurant/store and basically anywhere in the city, people treat me like I am Italian since I understand and can speak their language. I am very good at immersing myself in cultures, and that of Italy is no exception.

Day 44: July 9

Today is sadly my second and last day in Berlin. I have to do a photo shoot tomorrow and we lawn so I have to go back tonight. I cannot wait to go to Germany another time, my friend showed me the best of it!

 

We woke up at 6:30 AM to go explore the city and make the most of our time here. We went to a bakery- back werk!- down the street from our Airbnb and got the typical Schweineohr- or, in the USA as we call it, elephant ears- and coffee. Yes coffee. Coffee is life when you're running from place to place to see everything and getting essentially zero sleep! I was SO tired all day but it was all SO worth it!

 

Cat and I first started taking the metro to the East Side Gallery, but ended up at a wonderful German flea/antique market. There, I bought several vintage pins & patches for my appliqué collection. I got medals from WWI, WWII, the DDR, the German olympics in 1936, and more! Even a butterfly brooch too. I love working in Europe because you get to explore these fun fairs on the weekend.

 

Next, we actually ended up at the East Side Gallery, which is the part of the Western side of the Berlin Wall, where there is art that serves an expression of freedom and the people's break with the government and leading political parties during times of internal strife. It was shocking to walk around the wall and see how forlorn and bare the eastern side was... Just terrible. Reminds me of Boy in the Striped Pajamas movie. On one side of the barrier, there is relative happiness and free will; on the other, there is horrific terror and suffering. I really enjoyed the rainbow murals incorporating gay rights, Jewish pride, black freedom movements, acceptance of all people, and more. The most recent art is from 2009- wow!

 

We also took in great views of the Mercedes-Benz arena. Cat works for the engineering part of German automobile companies, so she found this especially cool! The Spree River was beautiful from here, too.

 

Speaking of the river, we walked a bit upward and viewed the famous Molecule Man sculpture from

the even more famous Oberbaumbrücke Bridge. The towers above the bridge remind me of the architecture in the Harry Potter movies! 😂 So gorgeous and intricate. There was the best and most iconic view of Berlin, the CAPITAL of Germany, from the bridge, and, in that moment, I especially appreciated the distinctly amazing opportunity to travel to so many beautiful European cities.

 

We then metro'd to Tiergarten's Berliner Trödelmarkt, another famous flea/antique/vintage market in Berlin. Germany is known for its markets, and for a good reason. There were so many cool things being sold at this one- it was even bigger than the one we went to this AM! From spoons to old German money to patches to 80s jean shorts to homemade green mint chip ice cream (my favorite, and, yes, it was to die for) to scissors, everything is sold here! So whimsical.

 

Our final tour destination of this somehow simultaneously crazily long yet way too shortest was the  Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. We couldn't go inside because there was some sort of Muslim rights protest right outside of it, but we saw it from afar. It looked like it came straight out of a fairytale. So tall and medieval-looking. I love how it was surrounded by extremely tall skyscrapers, too-added the perfect element of Berlin's linking the old and new  of Germany.

 

We were exhausted, so we decided to hang out at the widely celebrated BIKINI Berlin rooftop garden that looks out on all the skyscrapers, churches, and huge buildings of Berlin. Oh, and we finally tried the bacon-and-cheese bread we were looking for the whole trip, lol. It was so relaxing on this rooftop lounge! And the brotchen didn't hurt our having guuuuut time ;)

 

You know I was in Germany so I had to do this.. I bought signature German gummies and brownie Ritter chocolate and literally ate all of it... It. Is. To die for. Seriously, worth working out extra hard the rest of this week. 🤣 Like, I would literally eat a whole bucket of Kinder even if I had to bike it off for a year. So. Good. European food is just higher-quality, fresher, yummier, and better in general than that in America. In my opinion at least. I think many would agree.

 

By the way, as a fashion photographer, I really must say... I love the edgy, artsy street style here in Berlin. Mohawks, combat boots, and piercings are the trends here, and I'm not complaining! Such retro eastern euro vibes! Especially last night during some sort of youth gathering, the trends were quite evident. Love.

 

I bid adieu for the moment to my dear friend Cat... Had the best time with her this weekend and  can't wait to go on another fun trip with her again, hopefully some time in the near future! 😘 I took a quick nap at our Airbnb (which has a forest tapestry, dope candles, a unicorn stuffed animal, patron flower vases, hipster animal hydes, etc. SLAYAGE!), and headed to the Berlin airport to go eat some delish Krakaeur and wait for my flight.

 

I flew 2 hours from Berlin to  Bergamo and took the hour-long bus to Centrale, from which I took a taxi to my Milanese apartment because at that point it was the middle of the night! Ryanair always has the worst delays lol. At least I met some cool folks on the plane, one was an Italian lingerie ad advertiser, and the other was a German dog breeder/groomer/shower... Interesting combinations here in Europe. You just have to open yourself up to people, listen and learn their language, and learn about their lives! As a producer, I love to do this, so this is quite exciting to me to learn about people's unique stories.

 

Travel is hard, but it's worth it! I am so lucky to be able to see and experience of these extraordinary cities, and I can't believe I am only living here for less than a month. Wow, how the time's flying by. I have to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow for a potential photography/videography collaboration, so this is me saying Gute Nacht 😝 I had an excellent time in Germany's historically rich and hip capital, and can't wait to come back for more one day! Still so much more to do there 😋

Day 43: July 8

 Today my friend Cat and I woke up really early to go explore Berlin for my only full day here. Our Airbnb is so cute, it is so artsy it's like an urban outfitters catalog room. Adorable.

 

We first walked to a cute little bakery near our flat, where we got traditional quarkballs, which are traditional German breakfasts pastries filled with Greek yogurt. SO delicious! Like a German donut. We walked to the metro to House of Small Wonder, A super hip and popular hipster restaurant originating in Williamsburg Brooklyn. We got matcha lattes and the famous taco rice. I love the atmosphere in here, it had lots of beautiful plants and stained glass. The spiral staircase was the cherry on top- epic find. My friend literally saw it on someone's Snapchat story and scoured the Internet. She eventually found it and it was really worth it!

 

We went to the iconic Brandenburg Gate, where there are many famous historical pictures taken with the symbol for peace in the background. It is very ironic because a lot of the Nazi pictures taken in front of it or all about war and violence. We saw the United States Embassy and other countries embassies as well as fountains near here. There was even a man dressed in southern German attire while playing a traditional Bavarian instrument there!

 

After this, we visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews- it was a compilation of stone blocks of different heights representing all of the people murdered in the Holocaust... As a Jewish person, this was very hard to visit, but it was a very important thing to see. I hope to return to Europe one day to the concentration camps in Germany and Poland, as it is a quite important part of my ancestry and people's history.

 

Next, we visited the remnants of the Berlin Wall and the Topography of Terror, where there were detailed panels about Hitler's rise to power and the Nazi regime. It was very difficult to read the horrible things he and his party did to my ancestors and all of the German people, but I have already learned about it in school and it is, again, essential that we study this tragedy so that we do not repeat it. My friend and I really enjoyed exploring the wall and seeing all of the different holes, graffiti, and unique aspects of it. We tried some delicious traditional currywurst right next to the wall, which is a traditional German sausage with curry and ketchup sauce. SO RICH! We also saw Trabis, the traditional DDR cars.

 

We walked over to Checkpoint Charlie, the barrier/security checkpoint for those going from East to West Germany. There was an American flag and we got our passports stamped for €5. The "guard" stamped them with the different sector of Germany. We stood under an arch that was an important part of the wall at the Checkpoint- it had piping on the top so that it was harder for Germans to climb over the wall.

 

We strolled throughout the city, and two of my favorite sights were all the street art and he Deutscher Dome- so majestic in the sunlight! Speaking of which, it was pretty hot all day. Not as bad as Italy, though.

 

We visited the world-famous chocolatier Rausch Schokoladenhaus, where we got mango sundaes, chili dark hot chocolate, and an assortment of German truffles, including marizipan, pistachio, passion fruit, johannisberry, liquor (strong), nougat, and more! Delicious and fun! Great views of the whole city from this celebrated Café. They even had chocolate sculptures that were huge and shaped like Reichtag, cherubs, the TV tower, the Berlin bear, the world, and more! Impressive. I don't think I've ever seen so much chocolate in one place in my entire life.

 

My friend and I wandered around Unten den Linden, a famous boulevard of Berlin. It had lots of funky shops that we walked through and great people watching. Berlin is not only the capital of Germany, it's also the hippest place in Germany.

 

We took a walk through the main district of the city, visiting the Reichtag Building, which was constructed to house the Imperial Diet. I had so many German flag I am so obsessed with this! There were lots of awesome green fields around it and it's beautiful modern buildings. I really love how there is a mix of modern and historical architecture in this unique city.

 

We walked into Tiergarten, a pretty park that goes on for miles, and took the metro to Rotes Rathaus and Neptune Fountain. This historical edifice and beautiful plaza are right next to St. Mary’s Church, the Berliner Fernsehturm Viewing Tower- aka "TV tower"- and Alexanderplazts. We explored the area and enjoyed the shops, spinach pastries, and the views from the tower. We got tickets to go up an hour in advance and then took an elevator all the way to the top to the viewing platform to take in the marvelous views of the city. I adore how the river snakes through the whole thing!

 

We got a clothing haul from New Yorker, the German- and better- version of Forever 21. It has lots of cool outfits and accessories, and lots of patches! It's always fun shopping in foreign countries because it's so different.

 

Exhausted, we went to the widely revered Saurkraut Berlin, where we ate fried nacho goat cheese, Weißwurst- a typical southern German sausage (meant to be eaten before noon, as tradition, but we are only in Berlin for one full day so had to go for it), and apfelstrudel in a mason jar. Most people apparently do not know this, but you have to cut the Weißwurst in a vertical line and then peel it before you eat it- many people mistakenly eat the casing! We also drank really good Pilsner in typical German beer mugs!

 

We went on a night adventure to Berliner Dom, the most beautiful cathedral in Berlin.  I've seen pictures of it online and it is so gorgeous, but at night time it is closed, so we didn't get the chance to go in tonight. Hopefully we have time to go tomorrow, but probably not because our flights back are around 6 PM. There were so many beautiful birds flying around the top of it, it was stunning. The reflection of the cathedral as well as all of museum island on the water was so breathtakingly beautiful.

 

I am so lucky that my friend is interning in Germany for eight months, because she is a pro at knowing all of the best foods to eat, things to see, and words to say! I don't know what I would do without her and I've had the best weekend with her, I cannot wait for all our future fun trips together! We met in Milan and it is such a blessing that we met... She's so cool. She's Brazilian and goes to the University of Louisville for engineering. I am so lucky to meet friends around the world who I can keep in touch with my whole life.

Day 42: July 7

If you couldn't tell already, I'm obsessed with making bucket lists. I have always had these huge lists of things to accomplish, see, eat, and watch in every city I have ever visited, and Milan is no exception. I have set out to accomplish a lot of my Milan Bucket List items the past few days after shooting all the European fashion weeks.

 

Today I woke up feeling very refreshed. I took the metro from my apartment to Pavé Milano – the most famous brioche/traditional- yet revolutionary- Italian breakfast place in all of Milano! It was so cute, and I got a gianduia/ginger brioche with a macchioto coffee. So Italian 💁🏻

 

I then went vintage ((window)) shopping at Cavalli e Nastri in Navigli- this place was made famous by Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni, and for a good reason!  They have troves of vintage designer dresses, pants, shirts, accessories.... You name it! I then went and shopped around several vintage boutiques in the area nearby that store.

 

I went back to my apartment, which is conveniently located in the hip Navigli area, to change for my daily Italian workout. Today was a full body workout circuit at my gym! I love meeting new Italian friends every day ☺️

 

I decided I'm in Europe so I've gotta #treatmyself, so I went to the famous Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo of Naples to get the buffalo mozzarella/basil pizza and the caprese. Had half for lunch and took the rest home for dinner! Travel day so made the most sense. Cutest little restaurant authentic to Naples ("napoletana" style) that added a northern location.

 

After that, I did some more vintage window shopping at Humana Vintage by the Duomo. It has more of a hippie, LA, and co-op feel. Didn't find anything good but I'm sure if you had all day to dig you could find SOMEthing. I had to stop at the Outlet Dolciario for one of my ((many...😅)) guilty pleasures- gummies! Got a HUGE industrial SACK of gummies for my flight to Berlin this evening. Only brought some with me though onto the flight- #proud

 

Then, I went into navigli to buy a Philip Lim-style camo and gold purse that I bargained for-- nice! Navigli is so hip and adorable, it is just like Venice with its canals and small shops and locals. I got a bag for my mom, too! Shoutout Tina!

 

I took the metro to Brera to do my last leg of coveted Milanese vintage shopping for the day, and actually met yet another Italian model who now hopes to work with me. Cool! Told him I would love to shoot. I went to Vintage Delirium by Franco Jaccassi, another apparently famed vintage designer shop and saw SO many beautiful pieces- it was so much that it was even verging on being overwhelming! I tried on a few Dolce & Gabanna 90s swimsuits, but ultimately decided I didn't need any *pats self on back.*

 

My last stop for the day was the revered Madame Pauline Vintage on Buonaparte. Known for holding coveted vintage finds for only a short period of time, it is crucial to hit this particular shop at JUST the right time of the fashion cycle. I found a ridiculously cheap €60 1997 (the year I was born!) vintage v-neck Missoni signature patterned halter that was originally €300. I HAD TO get it! Bargained for it, too 👏🏽

 

I went back to my apartment, ate the rest of my pizza/salad, and packed for BERLIN tonight! I am going to Berlin tonight and staying in an Airbnb in the city with a good friend of mine who's interning in Germany for the entire year. She is so fun and adventurous, I can't wait for this weekend in the land of beer and chocolate with her!

 

I went to Bergamo airport to take a (ew) redeye RyanAir flight from Milano to Berlin. It was unfortunately delayed and I arrived in Berlin at 1:30 AM 😫🤣 Only flight available 😒 Cannot WAIT for our adventures in Berlin tomorrow! 😍 We are staying in the cutest Airbnb in Berlin- so hipster! It is always exciting to go on new explorations with good friends, so this should turn out fun!

Day 41: July 6

Milano in the summer is known for its parties, fashion shows, amazing concerts... Aaaaand mosquitos and heat. Lol. Gotta stay positive though! Today I woke up early to meet a good friend at the trendy Macha Café. We got matcha smoothies, pancakes (with ice cream!) , and cappuccinos. What a cute little place!

 

We then explored the Porta Garibaldi district of Milano, and even snuck into the accidentally Wed Anderson-inspired pool at Hotel Principe di Savoia- it had a very Wes dolphin at the bottom of the pool and was super minimalist- quite in the style of one of my favorite directors. 😏 Having a great time exploring the Wes elements of Milan!

 

I then went to aerial yoga and abs at my gym. It is so fun trying to figure out workout classes in Italian, LOL!  I had a great time using my core strength to FLY!

 

I walked to the canals in Navigli, where I enjoyed a late lunch of traditional Italian meatballs and a nice salad at the Meatball Family restaurant. After, I checked out the sales at Rebel (great accessories!), Groupies Vintage (your #1 store for vintage finds), and Maggazine (bags!). Lots of walking and peoplewatching. I love seeing all the side streets of Italy.

 

I went back to my apartment and edited some photos of the beautiful excursions I took to Como and Verona while watching Bates Motel. It's funny, I honestly work best when multitasking. I made myself bucatini bolognese and garlic-pesto spinach... Chef life!

 

I took a night out on the town with a close friend of mine who's actually originally from Milano. We first got mojitos at the hip, fun Radetzky Café in Garibaldi, and then went to get gelato at MAG- nocciola and pistachio! 

 

I found out that I have an interview at DiggyStyle.com on Monday, and I think I'll end up working in some production/post-production over there until the end of my time in Italy (I can't believe I am only living here till August 5! Sad face!). Each day in Milan is a new adventure and, for that, I am grateful. I never know what each day will bring, and this is how life is best lived. Sure, there will be obstacles and difficulties and frustrations, but, at the end of the day, you really appreciate living in a different country that is so beautiful. This is my fifth study abroad, and, at the age of 19, I feel so lucky to be able to say that and to have so much experience abroad.

Day 40: July 5

First, I woke up and went to the gym- today was cycling. Let me just say it was a lot different than soulcycle! It was in all Italian and involved a lot less exercises and a lot more sitting on the bike. Different, but, then again, it's a different country and culture. I then went in the sauna and ice bath- rejuvenating! Always important to get active every day 😁

 

I went back to my apartment and went through/edited my 700+ photos of Wesley Benade from yesterday afternoon/night. Wow- all I can say is, I don't know how I could possibly have chosen the "best" 10 for the max number for instagram slideshow- SO many gorgeous photos to choose from. Love this model- we work great together.

 

I went to my idol director Wes Anderson's famous café, Bar Luce, at Fondazione Prada. It is literally straight out of one of his movies. It had pinball machines themed to his films, a jukebox, record players, 60s vibe's café setting, and delicious food. I got the Bolognese sandwich, Bar Alice coffee, and Tiermas Sue. All of the food was so delicious, I was full for the rest of the day! It was such a cute little café, I couldn't stop taking photos and videos! Felt like it belonged in Grand Budapest or even Royal Tenenbaums!

 

I went back to my apartment and edit more of my photos from the shoot yesterday – I love VSCO presets in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop! Addicted to those right now. I spent so much time on editing because I am a perfectionist who loves having great work. I finished Grace & Frankie on Netflix today, and started up my obsession with Bates Motel again... Can't wait to produce epic shows like this when I graduate USC with my BCA degree!

 

I went out to Nottingham Forest with some of my friends- apparently it is one of the top 50 bars in the world! I would believe it. I got this really crazy drink called Sex in the City – it is based off of one of my favorite movies! It is strawberry champagne served in the heel with a condom. How crazy! The whole bar is really cool, it is filled with Buddha statues, really cool Asian fusion type vibes, and interesting people!

 

We went to out-of-the-box gelato for "dinner" (lol)- I got Ludovico, a flavor that is apparently caramel with hazelnut. Delicious! Even though I got a small, it was SO filling- Italian- and European in general- food is just higher quality, and, thus, it's way much more filling.

 

I always love meeting really cool people on the metro, and tonight I met a guy who works for Viacom in Italy – go figure! I would love to work at Los Angeles, we will see if that works out one day. I think everything happens for a reason and that this trip is turning out really well for me… I can't believe I'm only living in Europe for one more month, and then I'm going back to DC, and shortly after that, Los Angeles. This internship/trip has been quite aonce-in-a-lifetime experience and I feel so lucky to have had it.